Last week, my wife and I went to the local brewery in town for the first time. We sampled all of the beers and ordered a couple of pints. We introduced ourselves to the bartender and told him that we’re new to the area and would love recommendations on restaurants and other area attractions, things to do, etc.
The bartender told us about several restaurants. He called in the assistance of other patrons enjoying their beers at the bar. My wife and I decided on one of the places and headed out. As we were leaving a few other regulars sat down at the bar and the bartender introduced us and told them that we were new to the area. Practically everyone here in North Alabama has been friendly and these patrons were no exception.
We left the brewery and drove to the restaurant. Surprisingly, the restaurant had a beer on tap from one of my favorite breweries in New England. I was surprised to see this beer had traveled all the way to Alabama. When we moved from Massachusetts several years ago, I don’t believe this brewery was distributing outside of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. I couldn’t contain my excitement and explained to the server that we had just moved to the area and I was surprised to see this beer on their list.
Another person dining at the restaurant overheard our conversation and welcomed us to the area. He asked where we were living, what brought us to Guntersville, and some questions about our background. He and the woman dining with him gave us some recommendations of places and events to check out.
After we were finished with our meals and were finishing up our drinks, one of the owners of the restaurant came by to follow up on our dining experience. We told him that we thoroughly enjoyed it. I again expressed the satisfaction of seeing this beer on the menu. He inquired how we heard about them. We let him know that it was a recommendation from the bartender at the brewery. We also asked about the history of the business and why they had relocated from Louisiana to Alabama. He shared those details and asked questions about us as well.
We gave him the rundown, how we had grown up in Central Florida, got married, moved to Boston, spent 10 years in Massachusetts, and then we decided we needed a change. We sold most of our possessions and moved into an Airstream travel trailer. We’ve spent the past couple of years traveling when possible, while spending much of that time in Arizona, but also visited states from Florida to California and from Mexico to Michigan and also much of what’s in between. Now we’re in Alabama to explore the area and also try to experience what it’s like to be an Alabamian. I’ll share a deeper version at some point or you can read our bio at foreverglampingblog.com
Honestly, it’s really nothing too remarkable to us. We made adjustments in our lives to make it possible. We’ve been living it for a couple of years now and the story is not as exciting as when we first set out. We’ve felt very fortunate to meet people who are kind and supportive throughout our travels. We like hearing their stories as well. The owner had a great story about how his family owned restaurant came to be. As we finished our last few swallows of our brews, he wished us well and returned to his work.
This is where the surprising part happens. Tonight we go into the brewery and the bartender from last week was working again. He inquired about our visit to the restaurant he’d recommended. We told him we enjoyed it very much and liked meeting the owner. The bartender then tells us that he knew that we had met the owner because the owner called him, thanked him for giving us the recommendation, and then expressed that he loved hearing our story.
This was a surprise to us. Again, our story doesn’t feel that spectacular to us. We understand that many are not currently in a position to do what we have done, but let’s face it, we haven’t accomplished any magnificence here. But something about it resonated with the owner of the restaurant.
Perhaps he wishes for the freedom to step away from his business, if only in the short term. Maybe he wants to travel the United States. Maybe he’s never been to a California beach. Or perhaps he’s never left the country. I don’t know these details about his background. I don’t know his wishes or his aspirations. I think it’s pretty cool that he’s making excellent food and offering superb beer selections at a restaurant that he and his family owns together.
In his mind, he likely feels like me. He probably thinks he’s done nothing special. He’s just making a living like so many others. He’s working hard, but he’s enjoying it. He appreciates and values what opportunities he’s been given. And he’s happy to share his journey with others.
I encourage you to start a conversation with someone the next time the opportunity presents itself. Ask them about their background. Ask about their work. Show real interest. Listen closely to what they say. They’re going to show interest in you as well. Be genuine. Share details about yourself liberally. You may soon find out that this person finds your story captivating and just can’t wait for you tell them more.
I know I’d love to hear your story as well. Please share it either by email or in the comments section below.
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